Saturday, June 18, 2011

South Korea-- The First 3.5 Months

Hello there!

It seems that I have fallen off of the bandwagon of updating that I had hoped to be on before. Life got a little crazy but I will explain in full. I'm hoping that this post won't be a super long one, but I'll try my best to wrap up my first few months here!

When I first got here, I wrote a post about my first day at school. It was alright, but at first I wasn't really "teaching" anything. My co-teachers would teach most of it and I would just stand there and pipe in every once in a while. I thought that was how it would always be. A few weeks of this go by, and my main co-teacher tells me that now I will be doing most of the teaching, starting on the next Monday (I think it was Thursday when she told me). I was a bit surprised at the sudden change (which seems to be a common habit here), and I asked why I wasn't teaching before. She told me that she wanted me to "take it easy" at first. Alright, I'll give her that much, but a heads-up would have been nice! So I taught mainly for a few weeks, but then me and my main co-teacher had a bit of a falling out. It's mainly just a personal conflict of interests, but we're working on it. It turns out that the way to a Korean woman's heart, is through her stomach. I started getting her her favorite doughnut once a week for a few weeks and now she's more friendly with me now! Who knew??

Overall, I'm starting to like my school. To be honest, I wasn't a huge fan of kids when I got here, but now they're growing on me. My kids make me laugh and they like me a lot. Every day I hear at least one "Laura Teacher, I love you!!" and a hug to go along with it! I do have my favorite students, and my favorite class, but I try not to let it affect how I teach. I want the students to learn English, and have fun with it. Which leads me to my next big project at work, summer camp.

I have to teach three weeks of summer camp this summer. I have to come up with the curriculum and lesson plans by the 30th of this month. I'm currently working on getting the themes of my camps down, and then lesson plans. I think that I'll do my first week as: "Travel the (English speaking) World!" -- this is to introduce the students to different styles of English, as there are many teachers from many countries who are often "criticized" for not speaking "American" English. The next week will be a "Pirates" themed week. This is just a fun way to teach them pirate words! The last week will be a "Week at the Movies" kind of thing. I'm still working out the details of this one, but I think I'll show snippets of a movie (probably something from Disney), and teach them movie-theater vocabulary. I'm mainly doing this movie-week because it's my last week before vacation, so I want to make it as relaxing as possible, heh. I'm hoping that this summer camp will be a chance for me to prove that I CAN indeed teach, without a co-teacher, and have fun while doing it! A chance to spread my wings a little bit, figuratively speaking.

After summer camp, I'll be going home to the States for 2 weeks. I'm really looking forward to it, seeing as during these past 3.5 months here I've been getting homesick a lot. I think it's partly because of the culture shock factor. There are different phases, and I think I hit the second phase (disillusionment- where you hate everything about the culture) pretty hard. I think I'm over it now, seeing as I'm getting out and doing new things and meeting new people. For instance, I started taking a Korean class about a month and a half ago, and I've met some cool people through that class. **I'll post some pictures later, as soon as they download off of my camera...** I've also started a hot yoga class, which is interesting since my Korean isn't nearly that good that I can follow the teacher's instructions. I usually just watch what everyone else is doing and they correct my posture occasionally. It works out! Hopefully I can burn off some of the weight I've put on since I've gotten here, heh heh!

I think that's a good start to catching up on posting! Maybe I'll post again tomorrow between work and Korean class, but we'll see! Hopefully it won't be another three months before I post again!